GRACE PRINTING — BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
TITUS EAPEN second guesses himself when it comes to the decision to move completely toward a digital printing workflow.
The vice president of marketing at Chicago-based Grace Printing—who along with brother, Ajith (CEO and vice president), guide the future of the shop founded by their father in the basement of the family home—isn’t exactly kicking himself for making the transition from sheetfed offset printing. His lone regret may be that he waited too long to fully embrace the digital printing revolution.
“We got in on the tail end of digital,” Titus concedes. “It’s kind of Monday morning quarterbacking, but we should have gotten into this two or three years ago. There’s so much demand for digital output in the marketplace.
“We might have gotten in late, but we’re still happy that we got in. We see a bright future for digital, because none of our big corporate clients want to print thousands of pieces and maintain a big inventory. Everyone’s going toward short runs and customized pieces.”
In a city known for its printing heavyweights, Grace Printing is a relatively small player in the Chicagoland area. It boasts just 20 employees and a commission-based sales force. Its manufacturing space is 5,000 square feet, but another 10,000 square feet is slated to be added by year’s end.
Being a small fish in a big pond, Grace Printing needed to accentuate its customer service and turnaround time. When the company bowed in 1992, K.M. Eapen, of Indian descent, benefitted from his heritage with strong customer loyalty from the sizable Indian community in suburban Chicago. Titus notes that this patronage was pivotal to the company’s early sustainability.
Drawing in New Clients
But the patriarch of the Eapen clan wanted the company to grow and advance with technology. High-end corporate clients would follow as Grace Printing began to tap into the medical, real estate and financial markets. As a general commercial printer, the company provides a range of products from business cards, letterhead and envelopes, to brochures, annual reports, promotional printing and direct mail pieces.